Below you’ll find our reviews of what we believe to be the best youth catcher’s gloves on the market in 2016. If you want a broader range of options, check out our youth catcher’s glove comparisons‘ page.
The 32.5” Mizuno Prospect is another in a long line of fantastic catcher’s gloves from the Japanese company. Geared specifically towards youth players, the glove features what Mizuno calls “power close,” which it easier for young players to close and squeeze the ball and keep it from popping out, something catchers want to avoid. Another feature is the ParaShock Palm Pad, which does exactly what you would expect, protects the hand by reducing shock, allowing players to catch without discomfort.
While the glove is designed to fit the hands of youth players, it is adjustable. The wrist strap allows any player to get a nice, tight fit, and like most gloves, more advanced adjustments can be made by loosening or tightening the laces around the wrist. The glove also has a two-piece closed web makes smothering short-hops a piece of cake.
This glove has received near ubiquitous praise from parents and players alike. It has a 4.8/5 rating on Amazon from 51 reviews and sees similar numbers on other retail websites. However, we need to explore some of the criticisms of the glove if we are to have the most complete picture. While there is little to go on, one of the complaints is simply that you get what you pay for. Meaning, that while it’s a nice first glove, it may not be as high quality as more serious players may want. Further, while most claim the opposite, there are some who claim to have found it difficult to break the mitt in Little other criticism exists.
Now for the positives. For one, the price is only $52, making it quite the bang for your buck, and there is also a left and right-handed version. And while a tiny minority may had issues with breaking the glove in, most appear very satisfied at how malleable the glove is right out the box and how quickly it can be broken in to your liking. The ParaShock Palm Pad also seems to be a homerun from Mizuno, as praise has been heaped upon this feature and its ability to make it easy for young players to feel comfortable behind the plate. The size is also a plus, as it is big enough for older players but still usable by young ones as well, with the optimal age range being 8-12 for the glove.
All in all, Mizuno has crafted a winner win the Prospect. The focus on usability and function has made them one of the best manufacturers of youth baseball products. If you’re looking for an affordable catcher’s mitt of great quality for both beginners and experienced players, you can’t go wrong with the Mizuno Prospect.
There’s no denying that Rawlings is the most recognizable name in the world of gloves. So it should come as no surprise to find one of their gloves on our ‘best of’ list.
The 32” Gold Glove Gamer Pro features the same design and patterns as the pros use, constructed with moldable padding, pro soft leather, and pro lace, making it easy for players to break in and shape the glove to their desired specifications. The 80% factory/20% player break-in means no more waiting weeks and months before you’ll be using it behind the plate. The high quality leather lends to the glove’s durability and provides all the comfort a player could ask for. Rawlings made the glove with defense in mind, and with the Gamer Pro and its one-piece closed web, you’ll be picking wild pitches like Johnny Bench in no time. The 6.5” hand opening allows for a better, snugger fit than you’d get with an adult model. The Poron XRD Palm Protection also drastically reduces ball impact and protects your hand from abuse. The $87 price tag is also a desirable feature, especially knowing you’ll be getting all quality that Rawlings offers at a reasonable price for a youth glove.
The Rawlings GG Gamer Pro has received significant praise, and while we usually highlight the negatives, we’ve not been able to find any. It has a 4.8/5 rating with 5 reviews on Amazon, and a perfect 5 on many other retail sites. The positives, however, are easy to find. Many customers have emphasized the quick break-in time and the quality leather. The shock absorption has been lauded, too. Of course, price is always an important factor and everyone agrees that it’s a great bargain and that you can’t do better at the price point.
Rawlings has crafted another gem with the GG Pro Gamer. Affordable, durable, and pro-designed, it’s a fantastic choice for both experienced and beginning players between the ages of 8-13 years old.
Akadema has been one of the underdogs in the baseball equipment game for some time. However, recent years has seen the company revamp their line-up and begin offering high quality products on par with the more prestigious brands.
The 32” Akadema AGC 98 Prodigy is a prime example of the company’s resurgence. Constructed with US steer hide throughout the webbing and pocket, providing the perfect combination of padding and sturdiness. A unique feature of this glove is what the company calls the AkademaLyte leather that makes up the leather on the outside of the glove, supposedly decreasing the overall weight. What this does is make you even quicker behind the plate and decreases the break-in time, so it’s practically game time ready out of the box. Akadema has also narrowed the finger stalls slightly, creating a better fit for youth players. The deep pocket and spiral lock web also makes squeezing the ball easy and will help you pick those short hops out of the dirt with excellent control. The Stress Wedge Technology also protects your hand from the wear and tear of catching, offering superior shock absorption.
We were unable to find any kind of consistent criticism of the glove, so we’ll skip straight to the positives. The AGC 98 has a 4.9/5 rating on Amazon with 22 customer reviews and on many other retail sites it has 5 stars. An important praise that has been repeated is the “no dropped third strikes,” which is supremely important for catchers of all ages. It follows that many have seen improvement in their ability to snag—and hold on to— balls that they might not have been able to control before. The pocket design also allows for faster transfers to the throwing hand, making it easier to get the ball out. The fit has also been celebrated as Akadema has gone above and beyond to ensure a great fit for their youth products. Further, whether you’re a lefty or righty, there’s an option for you. The price is another plus, as $72 is a steal for such a high quality glove.
Akadema is a strong contender in the glove market and should not be overlooked when conducting your search. The AGC 98 shows that they can compete with the likes of Rawlings, while providing a unique and affordable option.